5 posts categorized "Franchise"

February 26, 2019

THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH

World_is_not_enoughPierce Brosnan (Golden Eye and Tomorrow Never Dies) can do no wrong. While leading actors like Harrison Ford and Nicholas Cage recede into mere shadows of their former selves, Pierce Brosnan gleams with all the requisite savoir-faire and charisma that the longest-running film franchise in cinema history demands. 

Brosnan's third installment as Her Majesty's top secret agent 007 lives up to the lofty expectations set down by Sean Connery's initial James Bond presence with an indispensable steely nerve and Bond's signature unquenchable libido. British director Michael Apted, best known for his fantastic 7 Up documentary film series and Coal Miner's Daughter (1980), makes a surprisingly impressive debut in the super-action genre of the Broccoli family dynasty.

World

By definition a James Bond film must provide various exotic locations (in this case Bilbao, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Instanbul), include mind-bending chase scenes through exceptional places, utilize slick gadgetry, have seduction scenes with audaciously beautiful women, and include an explosive ending that catapults Bond and his fille du jour into sequestered romantic bliss. The cinematic experience goes beyond guilty audience pleasure, because there's something in it for everyone. The feeling is akin to visiting characters who have become old friends in situations that continually add up to a life-affirming thrill ride. There is a deeply felt satisfaction in hearing that priceless James Bond theme music and digging into the latest spectacular pre-credit action sequence.

World-Is-Not-Enough

In The World Is Not Enough, James Bond is trying to track down an international terrorist, Renard (Robert Carlyle), who threatens to kill off lovely oil heiress Elektra King (Sophie Marceau). Elektra has already suffered as a former hostage of Renard but managed to escape before his hostage demands were met. Elektra is planning to open her own oil pipeline into Turkey after the explosive assassination of her wealthy father.

The World Is Not Enough – review | cast and crew, movie star rating and  where to watch film on TV and online

It's a theme right out of today's news as President Clinton has just approved a similar pipeline to deliver oil from Azerbaijan and Georgia into Turkey without going through Russia or Iran. The screenwriters could not have landed on a more topical idea, and although content is never the crux of a James Bond movie, it is an added bonus that the countries visited in The World Is Not Enough are currently very active in the news.

World

Judi Dench (Shakespeare in Love) returns to nourish the series as Bond's strident boss "M," while Desmond Llewelyn returns for the 19th time as Bond's meticulous gadget guru "Q." Robert Carlyle (TrainspottingThe Full Monty) does a brilliant turn as the ruthless terrorist Renard. He's the nastiest villain to challenge Bond since Max Zorin (Christopher Walken) in A View to a Kill. Renard's character is first introduced in a meeting between Bond and M as a giant three-dimensional translucent head revealing the bullet lodged in his brain that makes it impossible for him to feel pain. It's an ingenious scene, because it makes us question whether or not this man is still alive and what kind of monster could survive such a state of being. Carlyle looks physically wrecked in his scenes while exuding an air of spontaneous combustion beneath his misshapen and sullen eyes.

Worldisnt

The World Is Not Enough keeps the stakes high for the James Bond franchise by paying closer attention to character development and interaction than recent films in the series. M proves herself to not be a perfect judge of character, and the beautiful Princess Elektra has a little "Stockholm Syndrome" stuck in the front of her mind to give the plot some artful double-crossing. Denise Richards may not be the most believable nuclear weapons expert as Dr. Christmas Jones, but she is the most comely.

The-world-is-not-enough

Michael Apted more than hits his directorial marks, and at two hours eight minutes, The World Is Not Enough is, pound for explosion pound, a great return on your entertainment dollar.

The World Is Not Enough (1999) | Motion State Review

Rated PG-13. 128 mins.Four Stars

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

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July 25, 2018

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE — FALLOUT

Mission_impossible__falloutMI6 fulfills everything the Mission: Impossible franchise has to offer if not much more. Tom Cruise’s frequent directorial collaborator and “Fallout” co-screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie (“Jack Reacher,” “Edge of Tomorrow,” and “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation”) orchestrates the film’s overblown action with meticulous attention to detail, perhaps a little too much.

The car chase sequences, while impressive, don’t come near the unpredictable nature of the one William Friedkin filmed for “To Live and Die in L.A.” Still, there is plenty of splashy gravity defying spectacle to wash over you as you watch a movie that was clearly made with an IMAX screen in mind. The stunts are gut wrenching, and the helicopter stunts are out of this world.

Tom-cruise-mission-impossible

You need every inch of that 80’ by 100’ IMAX screen to experience what the filmmakers have in mind, which is to blow yours. Another trip through the editing process would have helped tighten the pace but no one is coming out of this film not feeling like they didn’t get their money’s worth.

Fallout

The politics of the MacGuffin-laden plot are sufficiently bland so that no audience member feels left out or put upon regardless of their political leanings. Even anarchists should feel right at home with this film’s cartoonish narrative design since the villain here is a Ted Kaczynski knock off. Bad guy number one has a crew of “Apostles” helping him destroy world order. Don’t worry, there’s only one bloody scene in the whole movie, and the rest of the violence is strictly of the cartoon variety. Our height-challenged action man Ethan Hunt (Cruise) still receives his mission assignments in the same old-school method of a self-destructing reel-to-reel tape.

MI6

Considering the franchise landscape at hand, what surprises most are the casting choices that fail. Alec Baldwin’s IMF character Alan Hunley (Ethan’s boss) seems like he walked onto the wrong set on the day he needed to shoot the handful of scenes he’s in. However, Baldwin does deliver one primo piece of acting while performing one of dramaturgy’s most traditional tropes. No plot spoiler here; you’ll know it when you see it. Angela Bassett also falls flat, regardless of her ageless beauty, as CIA director Erica Sloan. Bassett’s tempo and tone don’t match with the movie as a whole.

Mission-impossible-fallout

What does work in the character department is the reliable chemistry between Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, and Tom Cruise. Here is an onscreen friendship that feels like an old pair of slip-on house shoes. Michelle Monaghan is as perfect as it gets for onscreen romance. No shortage of mask disguises provides a series of nods to the original “Mission: Impossible” television show, while providing the movie with some nifty plot twists that register with an added amount of humor. And yes the super-action men's room fistfight is a hoot.

Fallout

“Mission: Impossible” is the closest thing Hollywood has going next to a James Bond franchise, and going it is. Tom Cruise will soon be too old to play the part of a stunt-happy super spy. Get it while you can on the biggest IMAX screen you can find.  

Fallout

Not rated. 147 mins.

4 Stars

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

August 05, 2016

JASON BOURNE

JasonBourneThe first two “Bourne” films were awesome. There was plenty of cool narrative grist for the audience to sink its teeth into. Here was a super-badass young spy with a mysterious identity that even he wasn’t privy to. Discovery was everywhere. Bourne’s personal mission was clear.

Franka Potente (“Run Lola Run”) brought a chic European magnetism to her portrayal of Jason Bourne’s worldly love interest Marie. Hot chemistry smoldered between Matt Damon and Potente. However, Robert Ludlum’s source material novels had limited plans for Potente’s exquisitely crafted character. Too bad the filmmakers didn’t bring the actress back in a different role. Now that would have made for some potentially rich spy-plot excitement. Remember when Luis Bunuel had two actresses play the same role in “That Obscure Object of Desire”?

Filming for 'Bourne' sequel to start near Smith Center | Las Vegas  Review-Journal

Bourne’s debut, “The Bourne Identity” (2002), remains the coolest new-franchise 21st century spy thriller to come along. “The Bourne Supremacy” (2004) beats the rule that says studios too often crank out sequels in a rush to capitalize on an initial film’s box office success. We thank you Robert Ludlum.  

Jason Bourne (2016) Movie Review from Eye for Film

Let’s not forget that the first movie had an amazing cast all around. Chris Cooper, Clive Owen, Brian Cox, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje each added to the film’s thrilling dynamism. The sequel did a number with Brian Cox, Karl Urman, Joan Allen, and a smooth touch from the always-enjoyable Michelle Monaghan. Then 2007 rolled around and the franchise went the way of Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” franchise with “The Bourne Ultimatum.” Three is not always a charm. Julia Stiles received an undeserved promotion that put the wooden actress in charge of line-readings that could be given better by an alley cat. Even the obligatory chases sequences began to take on a rote quality.

Bourne2016

The fourth installment, “The Bourne Legacy,” abandoned Matt Damon in favor of putting a miscast Jeremy Renner in charge of the action sans indie agent Bourne. Yawn.

Which brings us to “Jason Bourne,” a script in search of a story, but willing to substitute action set pieces for narrative development. To call “Jason Bourne” merely tedious is being kind. This is a coattail dragging franchise addition that never should have been made. You can tell instantly that the film was written by a couple of screenwriters (Paul Greengrass and Christopher Rouse) with no Robert Ludlum source novel to work from. Sure Vincent Cassel works serious movie magic as a super heavy, and Alicia Vikander skates circles around Julia Stiles, but there is nothing to hang your hat on.

Jason-bourne-2016-matt-damon-julia-stiles

The Jason Bourne franchise is dead in the water for the same reason that every other Hollywood movie-series fails, poor planning. If you’re going to create a successful franchise, develop a triptych of films based on solid character development and a glorious plot structure that extends all the way to the end. Forget about creating the next James Bond; that’s not going to happen. Keep it rooted in emotion, political relevance, humor (i.e. satire), and sexiness. “Jason Bourn” has none of these precious elements. I recommend watching a James Bond movie instead. You’ll be a much happier audience member.

Jason Bourne retoma a trilogia sobre o superagente secreto atormentado em  busca de sua identidade

Rated PG-13 123 mins.

2 Stars

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

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